Are Humans Born Good Or Evil?

Are Humans Born Good Or Evil?

We don't live in a good or evil world, but an unprincipled one.

I’ve often heard the question asked: “Are humans born good, or are they born evil?” The answer depends on the person and, based on the answer, you can derive whether that person is a cynic or an optimistic thinker.

For instance, if I were to answer that people are naturally bad, I would most likely believe that people are also selfish, egotistical, and untrustworthy most of the time. If I were to answer that people are naturally good, I would most likely believe that people are also honest, kind, and trustworthy most of the time.

But we must consider that “good” and “evil” are merely value judgements that humans impose on others in order to understand them. Good and evil aren’t qualities found in things themselves. I can’t pull on my scientist’s lab coat, adjust the lens on my microscope, place a human being under the glass slide, and discover whether or not that person is good or evil.

This of course leads to the conclusion that good and evil aren’t scientific and, therefore, don’t exist in the actual world; but, for most people, this answer is unsatisfying. Since there are people, and there are value judgements, I must conceive of a different answer.

As a substitute teacher, and having taught in a classroom of kindergarteners for two months, I can reasonably say that humans aren’t born good or evil--they are born unprincipled.

People live according to a set of principles, and these vary according to culture. Principles guide behavior, and when these principles are infringed upon, we have societal laws and entertainment (distractions) to keep people in check. But principles aren’t just found at the cultural level. Principles are found in schools, in the workplace, and in everyday social interactions.

What I mean when I say that people are born unprincipled, what I mean is that they are born not knowing how to act in a manner conducive to the welfare of a community or society.

A school, for instance, has rules and principles that students must act in accordance with. If these rules and principles aren’t followed, then chaos is sure to ensue.

Children are unprincipled until taught otherwise. The kindergarteners that I had for two months were unprincipled until I taught them otherwise (Well, I usually bribed them with treats and free time, but that’s beside the point).

The point is that humans must be taught how to act. They don’t come into the world already understanding proper social norms and behaviors.

If we lived in a world where people weren’t taught how to act, it seems quite natural that people would act in mostly selfish ways. Our primal instinct is to look out for ourselves first, and that was one of the observations I made in a classroom full of five and six year-olds.

As children, we need to be taught how to share and be kind. We need to assimilate to the fact that stealing and hurting others are illegal. Punishment and reward are our greatest motivators, and without these, we would still be living in caves.

From what has just been said, it might seem that humans are born evil since they must be taught how to act in principled ways. This is certainly one way to look at it, but one that I believe is too simplistic.

We live in an unprincipled world. We don’t live in a good or evil world. Good and evil come later. They come when principles fail… or succeed.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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